Renault prepare to hit the 200 mark 06 Jun 2006
29 years after making their Formula One debut at the 1977 British Grand Prix, when Jean-Pierre Jabouille qualified the famous RS01 yellow teapot' turbo car in 21st position before retiring on lap 17 with, inevitably, a broken turbo, Renault will this weekend start their 200th Grand Prix as a Formula One constructor, at the 2006 British Grand Prix.
2006 marks Renault's 14th season as a constructor (1977 to 1985, 2002 to present) and in that time, the company have scored 30 race wins, 47 pole positions, 24 fastest laps and one constructors' championship. The company took just one win at Silverstone during the turbo era, in 1983 with Alain Prost at the wheel; they also took a single pole position, with Rene Arnoux in 1981. Since 2002, their best finish in Britain has been second position last year with Fernando Alonso, who also took pole position.
However, Renaults 200th race start will not be their 200th Grand Prix participation. That came four weeks ago in Barcelona, when Alonso took a lights to flag victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. The reason for the discrepancy - both Renaults failed to qualify for the 1979 US Grand Prix West in Long Beach and, of course, failed to take the start last year in Indianapolis at the ill-fated 2005 US Grand Prix.
As an engine manufacturer from 1989 to 1997, Renault also established an illustrious heritage at Silverstone, taking seven consecutive victories from 1991 to 1997, as an engine supplier to Williams and Benetton, including home victories for Nigel Mansell (1991, 1992), Damon Hill (1994) and Johnny Herbert (1995).